Warriors date Nigeria

Warriors date Nigeria

THE Warriors have drawn African powerhouse Nigeria as well as neighbours South Africa in Group C of the 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers.

Zimbabwe were destined to face a tough draw in the qualifiers and there was a lot of anticipation among the local fans to discover which difficult Group their team were going to be placed in.

In the same Group are Lesotho, Rwanda and Benin, with the qualifiers set to begin this November.

There are 10 slots up for grabs for Africa with Fifa having expanded the final tournament to 40 nations this time around.

Yesterday nine Groups of six teams each were drawn and each team will play 10 matches, five at home and the same number away.

The Group winners automatically qualify for the finals which will be played in Canada, Mexico and the United States, while four best runners up from all the groups will play each other to determine one team which will proceed to another play off against nations from other continents.

It was an interesting draw for Zimbabwe, considering that they were placed in the same pool with neighbours and rivals South Africa, whom they were also grouped with for the last World Cup’s qualifiers.

In their meetings, Zimbabwe lost home and away while they have faced Nigeria on seven occasions, losing four, playing three draws and defeating the Super Eagles only once.

Zimbabwe’s only win over Nigeria came in 1981 when the Warriors triumphed 2-0 on home soil.

Their last meeting in World Cup qualifiers was for the 2006 edition when Zimbabwe were thumped 3-0 at home before they were walloped 5-1 in Nigeria.

The Warriors have a good record against Lesotho with whom they have clashed on 10 occasions, winning five, playing four draws while losing one.

They have never played Benin, while against Rwanda they played three times with each side winning once, with the other match ending in a draw.

Zimbabwe found themselves in Pot 4 of the draw as a consequence of their inactivity on the international scene following a ban imposed by Fifa due to government interference in Zifa affairs.

Fifa only lifted the ban this week and the government is jostling to have the National Sports Stadium ready to host international matches.

All stadia in the country are barred from hosting international matches after failing to meet minimum standards set by the global football body.

The Zifa normalisation committee, led by former Dynamos chairperson Lincoln Mutasa will have to come up with a national team coach after the last coach, Norman Mapeza’s deal expired following the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon.

FIFA World Cup 2026 African qualifiers draw:

Group A: Egypt, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Djibouti

Group B: Senegal, Congo DR, Mauritania, Togo, Sudan, South Sudan

Group C: Nigeria, South Africa, Benin, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Lesotho

Group D: Cameroon, Cape Verde, Angola, Libya, Swaziland, Mauritius

Group E: Morocco, Zambia, Congo, Tanzania, Niger, Eritrea

Group F: Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Kenya, The Gambia, Burundi, Seychelles

Group G: Algeria, Guinea, Uganda, Mozambique, Botswana, Somalia

Group H: Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, Namibia, Malawi, Liberia, São Tomé

Group I: Mali, Ghana, Madagascar, CAR, Comoros, Chad

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